Small businesses name Columbus one of the most supportive U.S. cities

Small businesses give Columbus high marks when rating the most supportive cities in the country, according to the results of a recent survey.

In fact, Columbus earned an “A” in several categories of the Small Business Friendliness Survey, including overall small business friendliness (placing it ahead of both Cleveland and Cincinnati) and overall regulatory systems.

Columbus earned an “A+” for its licensing and permitting regulations. The city’s lowest grade was a “B+” for environmental requirements.

Additionally, Columbus was among the top 5 easiest cities for starting a new business, and came in at no. 11 for its small business training and networking programs.

“Practical resources and responsive city leaders go a long way towards creating a business-friendly atmosphere,” says Sander Daniels, co-founder of, which helps users hire help locally.

“Columbus small businesses expressed satisfaction that the city is supplying both of these,” he added.

Central Ohio was the top-rated region in the state, followed by Eastern Ohio. partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to conduct the survey, whose findings are based on the responses of 7,766 small businesses across the country. Respondents were asked several questions, including:

  • “In general, how would you rate your state’s support of small business owners?”
  • “Would you discourage or encourage someone from starting a new business where you live?” and
  • “Do you think you pay your fair share of taxes?”

“It is critical to the economic health of every city and state to create an entrepreneur-friendly environment,” says Dane Stangler, director of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “Policymakers put themselves in the best position to encourage sustainable growth and long-term prosperity by listening to the voices of small business owners themselves.”

While there are various business climate rankings that rate locations as good or bad for business, there are no others that draw upon considerable data from small business owners themselves, according to Thumbtack.

Thumbtack and Kauffman also ranked states and cities against one another along more than a dozen metrics to generate the survey’s results.

The top-ranking cities overall were Austin, Virginia Beach-Norfolk, Houston, Colorado Springs and San Antonio.

The lowest rated were Los Angeles, San Diego, Cincinnati, Sacramento and, in last place, Newark, NJ.

To see the full survey results for Columbus, click here.